My Friend Ajax Bukana

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Ajax Bukana and Louis Armstrong in Ghana, 1956.  

His name was Ajax Bukana, a great Nigerian comedian, who naturalized as Ghanaian during Kwame Nkrumah’s era. When I was young, my father, J.N.K Savage, who was then a journalist at Guinea Press, now The Ghanaian Times, told me much about some of his colleagues, including Ajax Bukana, Kofi Badu, and Willie Donkor.

I grew up to see Mr. Willie Donkor, as the editor of ‘Weekly Spectator,’ Mr. Kofi Badu, as the Managing Director of The Daily Graphic and Ajax Bukana, as my neighbour at Dansoman Estates, near Gbegbesee-Agege, when I was living with my mother. Ajax Bukana, whose real name was James Kehinde Ajayi, was appointed Ghana’s state comedian by Kwame Nkrumah. Ajax entertained much head of states and personalities from all walks of life, including the African-America musician, Louis Armstrong (Satchmo) at the State House.

Apart from his experience as a comedian, Mr. Bukana was a talented musician who played Octobass with famous musicians, including Bobby Benson in Nigeria, before settling in Ghana. In the early eighties, I had the opportunity to visit Ajax’ family in Lagos, Nigeria, with his elder son Kwamena Ajayi Ajax. Mr. Bukana married a Sierra Leonean from the Scott family, who eventually also became a Ghanaian citizen.

In 1985, while working in Freetown, I took the opportunity to visit Ajax wife’s brother, Mr. Scott, who was then the Principal-Director of Immigration in Freetown. I remember among all the head of states after Kwame Nkrumah, Mr. Bukana was very close to Ex-president John Jerry Rawlings. On many occasion, his friend (Rawlings) advised him to retire, but Ajax’ strength, despite his ripe age wouldn’t allow him to retire.

Finally, Mr. Bukana retired and Rawlings presented to him a beautiful stool. The proud Mr.Bukana quickly called me to his house to see his gift from Rawlings. Many times we easily forget people that put happiness in our lives, but that shouldn’t be. I was very glad to watch a program recently in Ghana about Bob Cole, also a comedian and musician.

After a short illness on February 28, 2006, Mr. Bukana died at his residence at Agege, a suburb of Accra at the age of 89. His wife also deceased a couple of years ago.

Authors In Arms: Meeting Writer Femi Akomolafe

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 Femi Akomolafe and Joel Savage

I have read uncountable books by European and America authors, but as an African writer, I love also the books of African writers, because they give accurate accounts of what Africans went through during the colonial era and the destruction of the continent by Europeans, since only few European and American writers are brave enough to give the right account of whatever crime they committed on that continent. 

One of the African writers whose work caught my attention is the Nigerian author, Femi Akomolafe. His books on Africa are – Africa: It shall be well and Africa: Destroyed by the gods. His contemporary works include colonisation, religion and slavery in Africa.

During my recent visit to Ghana, I took the opportunity to visit him at his residence in Kasoa, a community which lies in the central region of Ghana, but close to Accra.

A passionate Pan-Africanist, Femi writes as a columnist for the Accra-based Daily Dispatch newspaper. The globetrotter Femi lives in both Europe and Africa.

His extensive work reflects on Africa-related issues in his books and for various newspapers and magazines. He was the producer of the FOCUS ON AFRICANS TV Interview programme for the MultiTV Station.

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The knowledge of a writer is from his books: Akomolafe’s collection.

He is also the CEO of Alaye Dot Biz Limited Dot Biz, a Kasoa-based Multimedia organisation that specializes in Audio and Video Production. Despite his busy activities, Femi always has some time to be with family.

At his residence, I was fascinated about his huge number of books, stacked on a temporary constructed shelves, after losing almost all his property in flood. Our conversation centered on his works and what he has in store in the near future. Femi has interviewed many people from all walks of life.

You can explore more of his works on “Alaye Web Television.” – http://alaye.biz/videoscategory/focus-on-africans/

Author Femi Akomolafe’s books: http://www.amazon.com/Mr-Femi-Akomolafe/e/B00MCZ00G0/